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Iraq Transition

Iraqi protesters: 'No, no to America'

• Interactive: Who's who in Iraq
• Interactive: Sectarian divide

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Several thousand protesters gathered Saturday in Baghdad to urge the withdrawal of American troops from Iraq as well as to call for national unity and denounce terrorism.

The marchers condemned President Bush, British Prime Minister Tony Blair and ex-dictator Saddam Hussein, and some protesters gave the trio the pun name of "triangle of death" -- the same as the nickname for a volatile region south of the capital.

The protest and other demonstrations marked the second anniversary of the fall of Saddam's regime and the famous toppling of the former ruler's statue in Baghdad's Firdos Square.

The protesters were largely supporters of radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, whose Mehdi Army battled U.S. and Iraqi troops last year in Baghdad's Sadr City and Najaf, 100 miles (161 kilometers) south of the capital.

Some protesters chanted, "No, no to America," and carried effigies of Bush, Blair and Saddam.

On Friday night, a member of al-Sadr's group was shot dead outside Baghdad on his way to the protest in the city, a member of the National Assembly said.

Sheikh Fadhil Abdul-Zahra al-Shawki was traveling with companions from Karbala when they were ambushed.

Peaceful protests

The demonstration stayed peaceful, and security around the square was largely Iraqi, with U.S. troops keeping a low profile.

In cites of the "Sunni Triangle" west of Baghdad, protesters also demanded the withdrawal of U.S. troops. Sunni Arabs, who dominated in Saddam's government, don't have the clout they once had.

Shiites, who make up 60 percent of the Iraq's 26 million people, and Kurds hold sway in the new transitional National Assembly, elected in January.

U.S. officials have said repeatedly they will not set a timetable for the withdrawal of American troops.

"Our troops will come home when Iraqis are capable of defending themselves," President Bush said at a news conference last month.

U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said there could be a temporary increase in U.S. forces at the end of the year, when elections are slated to be held again, but the numbers won't reach the high mark of 152,000.

On March 20, Rumsfeld said that U.S. troop levels would be drawn down to 135,000 to 140,000 "over the coming weeks," similar to numbers before the January 30 election.

Several countries in the U.S.-led coalition have announced plans to withdraw their forces, including Ukraine, which began bringing service members home about a month ago.

Freelance videographer detained

A freelance video cameraman for CBS News has been arrested, U.S. military officials said Friday.

The cameraman was wounded Tuesday during a firefight between U.S. troops and insurgents in the northern city of Mosul.

U.S. military officials said that the man's camera held footage of roadside bomb attacks against U.S. troops and that they believe he was tipped off to those attacks.

A military statement said troops believe the man "poses an imperative threat to coalition forces" and that he "will be processed as any other security detainee."

CBS said the photographer was hired about three months ago, and it asked news organizations not to identify him.

The network said the man was referred by someone "who has had a trusted relationship with CBS News for two years."

"It is common practice in Iraq for Western news organizations to hire local cameramen in places considered too dangerous for Westerners to work effectively," the network said in a statement.

"The very nature of their work often puts them in the middle of very volatile situations."

One official said at least four videos in the man's camera show roadside bomb attacks on U.S. troops.

"The individual in question was carrying press credentials from CBS News," the military statement said. "Military officials detained this individual and are conducting an investigation into his previous activities as well as his alleged support of anti-Iraqi insurgency activities."

The U.S. military has said that the cameraman was shot by soldiers after it appeared he had a weapon.

The military said the shooting occurred after a suicide bombing and that the cameraman was standing next to an armed insurgent. U.S. troops have been fighting insurgents in Mosul almost daily.

Iraqi soldiers killed

Five Iraqi soldiers were shot to death Friday when gunmen stopped their car in the southern town of Latifiya, Iraqi police said.

Investigators suspected the driver, a civilian, of being involved in the ambush and took him into custody, police said.

The soldiers were not in uniform when they were stopped about 25 miles (40 kilometers) south of Baghdad, police said.

On Saturday, two Iraqi civilians were killed in the city when a car bomb apparently targeting a U.S. convoy exploded. The bomb missed the convoy but hit civilians in a central neighborhood of Mosul. Thirteen people -- three critically -- also were wounded.

CNN's Kevin Flower, Ayman Mohyeldin, Mike Mount, Barbara Starr and Mohammed Tawfeeq contributed to this report.

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